Where Palm Trees Dipped and Seagulls Swerved

Festival 8 (R.Schloffel)

Festival 8 (R.Schloffel)

If Coventry embodied the dark debacle that Phish and their scene had become by 2004, Festival 8 represented all that is right in the current world of Phish. The most accurate word I can use to describe Festival 8 is “paradise.” We had arrived at a tropical site of dreams, and the entire place was set up for our ease and comfort. When contrasting Coventry’s mud-covered clusterfuck with Indio’s days of delight, things couldn’t have felt more different.

To begin with, as we approached the gate with a caravan of five RVs, we expected to wait in some traffic. After sitting on roadways for anywhere between 12 and 24 hours to enter previous festivals, this obstacle seemed like a given. But to our shock, we didn’t wait for one minute. After the thorough search for glass bottles and pounds of weed, the security let everyone through free of hassle. The only thing seized from any of our RVs were two glass-bottled Starbucks drinks. Onward and Upward!

Festival 8 (R.Gibbs)

Festival 8 (R.Gibbs)

After our team captain convinced the attendants to allow us to park in formation, we set up our home base within 45 minutes of approaching the main gates. Given maps upon entering, some exploration was in order. Prepared to walk a couple miles, everyone was pleasantly surprised to discover the concert field just around the corner from our campsite, about 100 times shorter than any festival walk in memory. The vibe of the Eight remained incredibly laid-back throughout the weekend, with well-behaved fans who appreciated the blissful setting. The entire event seemed like a Phish festival all grown-up. With amenities at every turn, shuttles to and from the lavish, nearby resorts, we certainly weren’t in Limestone anymore. Conducive to the band’s family-oriented atmosphere, the guys could hop back and forth between their loved ones and the festival in minutes.

10.31.09 (W.Rogell)

10.31.09 (W.Rogell)

The ease of Festival 8 seems to be the evolution of the Phish festival – easy access and hassle free. Providing a different feel from the absolute isolation of Limestone, this new model is quite¬† logical for the band’s place in time; just as Limestone defined the late ’90s. Virtually incomparable, Limestone possessed a Phishy magic that Indio could not. Just knowing what everyone had to do to reach the tip of America made those ritualistic weekends irreplaceable. The entire events were bigger, vaster, and more adventurous. We had our own city on the edge of the earth, and no one even knew. The unique majesty of those experiences will live inside us forever. But again, that was then and this is now. I’m not sure anyone who attended Festival 8 would have traded Indio for Limestone in a million years. Just as Phish and their fans continue to mature, and their music evolves, so will their signature events.

10.31 III (G.Lucas)

10.31 III (G.Lucas)

On top of everything else, the choice of locale – the Palm Springs desert – made the weekend flawless. With sunny days and cool evenings, the weather never intruded on our good times – something that can’t be said for virtually any other Phish festival. In addition, the site’s proximity to the highway provided easy access for the sundry artists, vendors and attractions. An amalgam of the Phishy spirit and the over-the-top west coast creativity of Burning Man, the art installations at Eight upped the ante from previous festivals, creating the feel of a psychedelic carnival. Throw in multiple bars, shade tents, countless couches, a jumbo-tron showing sporting events and movies, and golf cart taxis to get around the grounds, and this was most definitely not your father’s Phish festival!


Festival 8 (R.Gibbs)

Perhaps the biggest difference between Indio and Coventry is the utter joy engulfing the entire community these days. Back in ’04, we were there to celebrate a legacy – an irreplaceable time in our lives that was coming to a pre-mature end. And regardless of how much fun we had, the weekend possessed an irrefutable sadness.¬† Indio could not have been more opposite. With Phish back in 2009 – happy and on the rise again – everyone wore ear to ear smiles, and the positivity was absolutely infectious all weekend long. I never saw one incident, argument or bit of beligerence from anyone all weekend long, just people rejoicing to be back in the promised land.


Winged-music-noteJam of the Day:

2001 > Curtain > Tweezer” 11.19.95


A standout sequence that kicked-off Charlotte’s second set along the road of Fall ’95.



Festival 8 (Photo: Russell Gibbs)



11.15.95 Sun Dome, USF, Tampa, FL < Torrent

11.15.95 Sun Dome, USF, Tampa, FL < Megaupload

Sun Dome - U of South Florida

Sun Dome - U of South Florida

Making their tour of Florida universities, the band stopped at The University of South Florida a day after playing their legendary Orlando show the night before at The University of Central Florida, and three days after playing Gainesville. Amidst a tremendous run in the Sunshine State, a fierce “Mike’s Groove” holds down the second set of this show.

I: Poor Heart, AC/DC Bag, Fast Enough for You, Rift, Prince Caspian, Sparkle, Split Open and Melt, Sweet Adeline, The Squirming Coil

II: Wilson, Theme From the Bottom, Scent of a Mule, Mike’s Song > Life on Mars? > Weekapaug Groove, Fee, While My Guitar Gently Weeps

E: Suzy Greenberg

Notes: The band won the first chess game with the audience.

Source: Unknown

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435 Responses to “Where Palm Trees Dipped and Seagulls Swerved”

  1. BTB Says:

    I know. I was thinking about that the other day. How do you guys beat MSU, UM, and OSU and still have a pathetic record????

    I’m proud of Purdue though. Hung out with some good guys (probably engineers) last year at the Shoe.

    Boiler Up!!

  2. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @beep – I know, its like the place was made for Phish phans! Plus, can’t beat giant pretzels and 32oz. beers!

  3. Mr.Miner Says:

    had to approve posts with some links….not sure why some go thru and the others don’t. Lots of spam contains links, so WordPress holds it up. Sorry folks. All posts should be up there now.

  4. beepaphone Says:

    Hell yeah! Even if I’m too faced to drink, I’ll just llfa and sing along all over the place…I’m sure I’ll have the competence to at least spill a beer on someones mom or something

  5. beepaphone Says:

    Thanks BTB – Purdue Football? Pathetic Record? Sounds familiar…we can be monstrously explosive, but suffer from severe inconsistency. Not since the Brees days have we really had it on lock.

  6. Marshall Says:

    Watching some of Tyler Penn’s videos. While watching Punch, I see Trey doing that “right-knee-bend-dip” thing, which always gets me going. There’s something a little … I don’t know what … about it. He does it a lot (see DWD), but it’s the timing that strikes a chord with me. I know he’s clean and I’m not suggesting otherwise, but the rhythm of the dips almost have a “whoa, [molly] wave just crashed me” sort of groove to them.

    Anyway, I’m just talkin’ out my arse.

  7. BTB Says:

    @marshal – check out the FREE from 11/1 video. Trey is seriously rocking that shit. It’s kinda funny

  8. Marshall Says:

    For that matter, Trey may dance more like an audience member dances, while he’s onstage playing, than any other performer I’ve ever seen. Just another link between stage and crowd.

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    the lunge / knee bend Marshall refers to is a classic move for Red, no doubt!

  10. Marshall Says:

    Actually Free was what I meant when I wrote DWD instead. It’s awesome.

  11. BTB Says:


    Here is the Free from 11/1. lunge/bend all in rhythm with the chords.

  12. Robear Says:

    re: scene and mgmt.

    From all accounts, it’s a much tighter scene and circle around the band. They are very particular about who is on the bus and who has access to the band, behind the scenes. If people aren’t getting comped, it’s the re-focused scene, not the bands desire to charge everyone for a ticket.

    I for one, hope they keep it real. It would be too easy for Trey to fall back into bad habits. We all know someone (or ARE someone) on the path to recovery. I heard a rumor after F8 about some digressions this past summer, and I wanted to punch the source of the rumor in the grill.

  13. Marshall Says:

    And here’s the punch ..


  14. Marshall Says:

    @ Robear … the best T-shirts I saw at F8 were the ones that read “Keep Trey Sober.”

  15. BTB Says:

    yeah, Trey ‘tapping a parallel universe for energy’

  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    there were “Keep Trey Sober” stickers around too which mimicked the “Keep Vermont Clean” stickers you can get.

  17. Robear Says:

    Me likes that notion, Marshall. I missed those shirts.

  18. sumodie Says:

    As I’d think many of us know, once you’ve been to that place via some psychedelic, you can remember (with effort/work) how to get back there, Trey being no exception. He def knows how to bust a move or two or many, and do it sober. He was all in the right groove at F8, no worries from what I saw.

  19. Robear Says:

    Sumodie, good pt. However, I don’t think staying away from psychedelics was Trey’s problem

  20. Marshall Says:

    @ Sumodie – I’m not Trey but I do it sober and have for a long time now. Phish is the catalyst!

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    FWIW re: links – I am going to add spaces to make these examples post

    any url beginning with

    h t t p : / / w w w .

    will be filtered.

    However if you just start that same url thusly:

    w w w.

    the WordPress software will add the h t t p : / / part and the link will display correct and clickable. Thus:


    see that? I totally didn’t even type anything before the first “w”

  22. Robear Says:

    Hey ya’ll, still time to sport a Phishthoughts 1.0 T-shirt for fall tour. Get a long sleeve for the northeast, and a short sleeve for Miami. booooYah!

    Click my name for details!

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    ur links not showing, dawg

    I’m changing mine back, though. w00k down is so last week

  24. Robear Says:

    doh! posting from school.

    click my name to go to Cafepress. Search for ‘Phishthoughts’

  25. Marshall Says:

    Is there a song with a greater energy burst out of the gate than Punch? Any show where I get a Punch opener (in either set) usually works me out pretty good.

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